computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

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jantonuk
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computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by jantonuk » Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:45 pm

Back in the day a large PC chassis could hold a card with 1/4 inch TRS balanced jacks on a professional sound card.
With newer, smaller chassis these days, those cards (ISA anyway) no longer are an option.

In coming into this station, I have inherited the 3.5 mm unbalanced audio jacks built onto the motherboard of the inexpensive PC's we use for production. Even with "matchbox-type" interfaces, it is not my idea of "broadcast quality".

I'm looking for a recommendation for an external sound card connected by USB to the computer and by either 1/4" TRS or XLR for audio I/O.

I don't need a podcast oriented gizmo that I see so many when I search for a solution.

Suggestion?

thanks,
John

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Shane
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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by Shane » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:57 pm

Hey John,

BSW has a number of options. One is oddly enough a Henry Matchbox that mates XLR-to-USB. But it's a little pricey though still less than a standard pro audio soundcard. They have a Presonus unit for $100 that looks promising. I may have to get a few of these!
Mike Shane, CBRE
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TPT
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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by TPT » Sat Sep 23, 2017 7:41 am

We've used the Lexicon Alpha--under $50 at Amazon. Balanced in and out using 1/4" TRS jacks, then USB into the computer. Don't like wiring TRS plugs? You can can also buy XLR to TRS patch cords on Amazon.

Have conventional sound cards (ASI) on our production computers at my commercial stations, though we use the Lexicon devices on streaming computers with good results. But at a college station, faced with a limited budget and a Windows 7 computer rejecting an old Card D, substituted the Lexicon. Seemed to be equal to the Card D's before the OS upgrade.

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jantonuk
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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by jantonuk » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:14 pm

Oh, and did I mention I am blessed with small form factor PC's with half-height slots?

That's why I'm looking for an external solution.

John

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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by djpcraze » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:15 pm

I've had excellent luck with Digigram UAX220 series USB sound cards. I have many of them throughout my facility on Intel NUCs, several in daily on-air use.

https://www.digigram.com/sound-cards/ua ... ound-card/

There is also a version with a mic preamp built in as well, depending on your needs.

They can usually be found on eBay for 200-300 USD if budget is a concern.

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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by TPT » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:48 pm

ASI makes a small form factor card, too.

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jantonuk
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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by jantonuk » Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:16 pm

I had another company station offer me a Henry USB Matchbox for the cost of shipping.

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jantonuk
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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by jantonuk » Tue Nov 07, 2017 6:17 pm

OK. I had somebody send me an older original Henry USB Matchbox.
A nicely built box but does not work correctly under anything newer than Windows XP according to Henry Eng.
I have Windows 8.1

The OS identifies the box as a mono microphone, putting left channel audio into both left and right inputs and ignoring right channel altogether.

I'd rather not have to purchase a new $400-$500 box due to drivers.

Anybody have luck getting one of the older boxes working under Windows 8.1?
thanks,
John

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jantonuk
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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by jantonuk » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:14 pm

Go to properties of recording device and pick stereo instead of mono. duh.
Henry Engineering had told me I needed drivers.

Works fine now.

John

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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by ChuckG » Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:15 pm

I assume you saw the <properties <stereo 441000 comments on FB?

I might be the oddball (I'm used to it), but I don't have a problem running an unbalanced -10 sound card with the 3.5mm jacks in production. We have several running that way. Other than the cheapness factor, there really isn't an operational or quality issue.
<><><><><><><><><>
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Shane
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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by Shane » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:09 pm

I think that’s properly spelled “windows ate one”.
Mike Shane, CBRE
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Re: computer audio interface - alternative to 3.5mm

Post by RodeoJack » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:09 am

I'm using Intel NUCs with Henry USB matchboxes to drive 2 FM and 3 AM transmitters. Sound is great, no computer noise, I get more than enough output to drive the AMs, and no discernible overshoots. Analog inputs... AES and analog outputs. About the only thing you can't do with them is generate a composite output (only goes up to 48k sample rate).

The Matchbox isn't as cheap as a SoundBlaster, but if using the computer's 3/8" output is a problem for you, I think this is a good choice.

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